Developing a website for the China market is more than just having your current business site translated and changing the extension of your URL. There are numerous technical factors to consider for your website to be available to the Chinese users and to provide you with the best results.
What are some factors to consider when building a business website for Chinese audiences?
- Web host
Hosting your website in China will require you to apply to the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license. Read more about how to get an ICP License. However, in order to attain an ICP license, your business will need to have a physical presence in China.
An alternative option is Hong Kong cloud hosting, which provides good performance and speed, but without the need for a registered Chinese business.
- Search engine optimisation
Google is banned in China which means that your website must be optimised for local Chinese search engines such as Baidu, Sogou and Shenma. In order for your website to be indexed and crawled efficiently, it needs to be designed with these in mind: (1) website should be in the Chinese language, (2) where possible hosted locally with ICP licenses and (3) contain local inbound links and social resources.
- Site navigation options
As compared to Western websites, Chinese websites offer more options when it comes to page navigation. You will commonly find shortcuts to specific topics on the navigation menu on Chinese websites in addition to links to general categories. When it comes to submenus, Western websites tend to have content displayed vertically while Chinese websites have their submenus open horizontally across.
- Third-party links optimisation
Since the MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) blocks so many popular Western sites, many services like Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter etc are blocked in China which will slow down the website, so you will need to remove any outbound links, embeds, and other third-party features associated with blocked sites.
- Language localization
Even though B2C and B2B websites play by different rules, there is a common ground when it comes to website localization for the China market. No one will deny that using Chinese on the website will allow a better understanding for your local audience. Besides, it gives Chinese visitors an insight into your business and increases your Chinese search engine ranking.
- Local social media account
Opening social media accounts is another factor to boost your brand awareness in the Chinese market. Most of the western social media channels are blocked in China, so it is essential that businesses develop content campaigns in Chinese social media to increase brand reputation. That means developing content strategies on platforms such as Wechat, Weibo and Douyin (TikTok) and then embedding these social media accounts into your website to increase conversions.
Using WordPress for your Chinese website
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most popular content management tools on the internet to create dynamic websites. It is a free, open-source CMS (Content Management System) and some of its features include plugin architecture and a template system, otherwise known as Themes. Some of the web content that WordPress supports includes e-commerce stores, media galleries, mailing lists, forums, subscription systems and Learning Management Systems (LMS).
Is WordPress banned in China?
Firstly, it is important to know the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The former is blocked in Mainland China while the latter is not.
WordPress.com – a hosted version of WordPress where users can sign up and start a blog, website or store without any technical know-how.
WordPress.org – an open-source version of WordPress that can be downloaded to create a website but one that will have to be hosted on a server. In this case users will need to purchase their own domain names and hosting.
Advantages of using WordPress to design your website
- Use of plugins
The WordPress plugin library includes hundreds of plugins that cater to every developer need. In the instance of building a website for the Chinese market, some of the more useful plugins include:
Page Specific Menu: users can manage the navigation of the site in Chinese. As WordPress does not have a more efficient method to manage multiple languages on a website, this plugin is an easy way of solving that issue.
Polylang: a popular multi-language plugin, Polylang allows users to create content and to designate the language for each post, page, tags and categories. In short, Polylang lets users create a multilingual WordPress site.
Elementor Page Builder: a must-have for those with no experience in building websites, this plugin allows users to easily create website layouts and designs without the use of any code.
Remove Google Fonts: as Google is banned in China, it is advised that all content linked to Google is removed from any website that you want to have launched in Mainland China. This plugin does just that for you.
- Mobile sites
With 1.25 billion mobile users in China, it is crucial that your business site has a mobile-friendly version made available to potential customers. It is important to also note that mobile responsiveness is an important factor in search engine rankings. On WordPress, a selection of mobile-friendly themes and designs are available for use which will allow your site to look amazing and be user-friendly on any device.
- Easily adaptable
No matter what your business is, WordPress has a theme and function for every industry. Multinational corporations, small MNCs, bloggers, home-based businesses all use WordPress to power their websites. Due to its user-friendly interface, WordPress can be adapted to fit constantly changing requirements without any hassle.
While the information in this article provides enough insight into the basics of WordPress website development for a specific market, for you to truly succeed in the Chinese market with your business website, customisation is important. At Eggplant Digital, we have a team of skilled website developers, digital marketing experts and creatives to provide you with all the assistance you need to get started on building that perfect site for your business. Contact us for more information!